DIY Varnish Remover

Top Drawer: Old Varnish. Middle Drawer: Stripped and Oiled. Bottom Drawer: Stripped

NO MESS.  NO FUSS.  NO SMELL varnish remover that costs next to nothing and involves little effort!

(This will also work on some paints – you will need to test/experiment with length of time depending on paint type..)

You will need:

  • Soda Ash (Washing soda) – I used Soda Ash Light
  • Flour (the sort you make scones from)
  • Water
  • A paint brush
  • Steel wool or a scrubbing brush or a Scotch Bright (I just used an old kitchen scotch bright that was past it’s use in the kitchen)
  • Some old rags/cloths
  • More water

Old dark varnish

Soda Ash/Flour paste applied

In a container put your Soda Ash and just enough water to dissolve it.  Stir well until Soda Ash is dissolved.

Add flour while stirring, add enough to turn your mixture into a cream paste (not too thick).

Brush paste onto furniture with a paint brush.

Leave 30 mins at least – this can be left longer if need be – however do not let the paste dry out too much as it becomes hard to get off – if need be spritz it occasionally with cold water.

Wipe off using your scrubbing brush/scourer

Drawer stripped and rinsed

Rinse well with clean water and a cloth to remove residue.

To finish off rub in Danish Oil using 0000 grade steel wool and wipe down with a soft cloth.

Admire your hard work.

Finished oiled drawer